Sceats sits fourth on USF Pro 2000 points table

Kiwi Liam Sceats has come away from the opening USF Pro 2000 Presented by Continental Tire round in St Petersburg fourth on the points table after finishing third and sixth in first two races.

Twelve months after Lochie Hughes and Nikita Johnson shared the victory spoils during the opening two USF2000 races of the season on the downtown streets of St. Petersburg, the two talented youngsters have repeated the feat. Only this time both have now stepped up to USF Pro 2000 Presented by Continental Tire, the next level on the USF Pro Championships ladder which propels drivers all the way from the grassroots of the sport via a scholarship-funded path toward a future in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

Hughes, from the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia, took top honors yesterday, while today it was the turn of local driver Johnson, from nearby Gulfport, Fla., who swept past his rival soon after a restart with six laps remaining and pulled away to an emphatic and popular victory for VRD Racing.

Hughes on this occasion had to settle for second as Turn 3 Motorsport teammate Danny Dyszelski, from Belmont, N.C., capped another fine weekend for the Illinois-based team by finishing third following a thrilling tussle with Pabst Racing’s Christian Brooks, from Santa Clarita, Calif.

Hughes jumped into an early lead after claiming his second Continental Tire Pole Award for the Foundation Building Materials Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Johnson, who started fourth, vaulted immediately to second at the first corner and remained tucked in behind the rear wing of Hughes’ car until the caution flags waved due to Ethan Ho (Turn 3 Motorsport), from Los Angeles, Calif., being inadvertently pitched into the wall at Turn 10 as TJ Speed Motorsports’ Hunter Yeany, from Virginia Beach, Va., tried to initiate a pass. Shawn Rashid (VRD Racing), from La Quinta, Calif., also was involved as an innocent victim.

The pace at the front was just as frantic following the restart, with both leaders lapping ever faster around the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street course.

Another incident after 16 laps brought a brief respite for Hughes, but there was no stopping the inspired Johnson soon after the restart when he elicited a loud cheer from the grandstands after executing a perfectly judged pass for the lead. Once in front, Johnson continued to set new fastest laps – quicker even than Hughes’ best from qualifying on Friday – before taking the checkered flag just over two seconds in front.

#26 Liam Sceats, TJ Speed Motorsports

Dyszelski, who started second, held third place for the majority of the 25-lap race. Brooks, who finished second on Saturday, briefly found a way past Dyszelski at almost the same moment as Johnson overtook Hughes for the lead, only for Dyszelski to return the favor next time around.

Brooks also fell victim to Jay Howard Driver Development’s Frankie Mossman, from Newport Beach, Calif., who finished a strong fourth, chased home by Brooks and New Zealander Liam Sceats (TJ Speed Motorsports).

DEForce Racing’s Jorge Garciarce, from Guadalajara, Mexico, claimed his second Tilton Hard Charger Award of the weekend after rising from 20th on the grid to 10th – one position better than yesterday.

The PFC Award for the winning car owner went to VRD Racing’s Dan Mitchell.

The USF Pro 2000 competitors now have a month’s break before returning to action for a tripleheader at NOLA Motorsports Park, just outside New Orleans, La., on April 5-7.

Points (Top 10)

1/ Lochie Hughes – R 59
2/ Nikita Johnson 51
3/ Christian Brooks 42
4/ Liam Sceats – R 37
5/ Frankie Mossman 32
6/ Braden Eves 30
7/ Mac Clark – R 27
8/ Danny Dyszelski 24
9/ Hunter Yeany 22
10/ Jorge Garciarce – R 21

Related Stories

Join in the conversation!


Leave a Reply